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Ellesmere Port care home falls a long way short, report discloses

Director says management and staff are fully committed to improvements

Atherton Lodge in Ellesmere Port

The full extent of the concerns at Atherton Lodge, the Ellesmere Port care home which has been returned to special measures, are disclosed in a detailed report.

The home, on Pooltown Road, which has 40 residents, found itself uncomfortably in the spotlight following visits by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Director Sat Pawar of Worcestershire based P A R Nursing Homes says the home is committed to the health, safety and well being of people living there and to improving the service.

But the CQC insists the care provided falls ‘a very long way short’ of what is expected although the majority of staff are caring and supporting.

People do not feel safe

“People who lived at the service told us that they did not always feel safe,” says the CQC. Relatives also commented that they were not confident Atherton Lodge was safe at all times.

Residents suggested they didn’t like being in the lounge as they found it to be 'not a peaceful place to sit’ while a relative commented that on more than one occasion they had to intervene when an altercation took place.

Inspectors concluded that people were not protected from the risk of actual or potential harm.

Ellesmere Port care home placed in special measures by CQC watchdog

Although all the residents took medicines these were not safely stored and relatives and visiting professionals reported they on occasions they had found tablets on the floor although records had been signed to show all medication had been given to people.

Information was missing, other records had been completed in pencil and records were not checked for accuracy and signed by a second trained and skilled member of staff with a risk that medication was not being given as prescribed.

"Very smelly"

People told the CQC there were not enough cleaners and their bed was always full of crumbs while relatives commented that cleanliness had gone downhill and ‘it has gone to be very smelly in here now’.

Most of the home was said to be ‘visibly unclean’ and in need of repair with dirty carpets and flooring and dirty or damaged fittings and fixtures.

Two recent safeguarding investigations had concluded Atherton Lodge had taken inadequate steps to keep people safe and had not taken steps to minimise the risks to residents.

There were insufficient staff available to safely meet people’s needs and residents and relatives were also concerned that some areas were not adequately supervised.

Residents said they did not have confidence in all of the staff but some were ‘very good’.

Food 'not good'

The food was said to be ‘not very good’ and some residents whose diet was ‘very poor’ were at risk of malnutrition and dehydration.

There was a failure by staff to actively seek medical attention or to follow instructions given to them by medical staff.

Residents had difficulty in communicating with staff who did not have English as a first language although Mr Pawar said he had ‘every confidence’ his staff had the required skills. The CWC found this was not the case.

Those spoken to by the inspectors said they did not feel cared for with one person, who was very upset talking about their experience, saying: “It is awful that this is what my life has come to."

Dignity not respected

People’s dignity was not respected, some people struggled to eat or cut their food, linen on some of the beds and towels was thin, stained and threadbare and one relative informed they had evidence their family member’s linen had not been changed for over two weeks. There was a ‘malodour’ throughout the building.

Some people spent most of their time in their bedrooms.

People’s views and that of relatives about how staff provided support was mixed with some saying staff provided the help they required whilst others felt staff did not understand their needs.

Complaints were not dealt with appropriately and the complaints log could not be located although the new manager was not aware of any current concerns.

Managers keep changing

People were disappointed that managers ‘kept on changing all the time’ and some relatives were ‘very disappointed’ that Mr Pawar did not take a more active role and come to visit more frequently.

One said: “I would love him to come spend a day here eating the food my [relatives] eat, sleeping in the bed they sleep in and experiencing the care first hand. I don’t think they would like it very much”.

Mr Pawar confirmed he did not meet or seek feedback from people who used or visited Atherton Lodge.

People had been admitted even though staff did not have the skills or experience to meet their needs.

Accident records

Accident and incident reports showed a number of serious incidents. Records and confidential information were held haphazardly and there was a lack of organisation.

Mr Pawar had continued to fail to notify the CQC about ‘key matters’ such as safeguarding investigations, serious injury, events reported to the police or changes to the management and there had been ‘significant’ breaches of the requirements.

He told the Pioneer: “We are committed to the health, safety and well-being of the residents who trust us to care for them in their later years.

“Since being alerted of potential shortfalls in our services, we have invested heavily in the implementation of new policies and procedures throughout the home as well as the training of our staff to further improve on the quality of the care we provide.

“With the help of a specialist care consultant, we have made significant changes in the way in which we will operate to benefit the people under our care.”

An experienced acting manager and clinical lead nurse had recently been appointed and the management and all staff were fully committed to improving the service.

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